I've been on a mission to eat the foods I love that make me feel really good, inside and out, without overcomplicating it. Like so many of you, I've tried all the things to lose weight and live healthier. I've gotten caught up in so many fad diets, quick fixes, short term solutions, counting calories, macros, points etc, that I lost sight of the goal...which is ultimately to FEEL GOOD and live a long and fulfilling life. I finally feel like I'm in a place that feels sustainable, doesn't stress me out and makes feel better than I ever have. I think I'll stay for a bit because I'm really enjoying where I'm at. : ) It's also the reason why I'm so passionate about sharing this with all of you!
I've learned some things along the way. A lot of things, actually. What I keep returning to is a diet full of whole foods that are mostly plant based, with a focus on eating as much fiber as I can to improve and maintain my gut health. You want to know something? It's been a game changer and really freeing. And it's the thing that I seem to spend the most time talking with my patients about these days.
What I often hear from people is that they don't feel like they have enough time to prep or cook healthy food. But after a long day of work and/or school, we are exhausted. Without a plan or meal in place, it's way easier to choose the easy option of take out, fast food, and processed pre made meals, over the healthier options that might take us some time to make. And when we're tired, our body automatically reaches for the things that will give us a quick energy boost, like sugar, caffeine and processed carbohydrates. We feel better short term, but it doesn't last long. I really encourage all of my patients to find a few simple recipes that they can go to when they don't have time to prep and keep their refrigerator, freezer and pantry stocked with the basics to make those meals. I also really encourage them to dedicate some time 1 day of the week to meal plan and prep. I think so often we try to overcomplicate this, but it doesn't have to be that way.
Which is why this week I wanted to share with you my new favorite easy lunch recipe that is SO yummy and filled with all the good stuff to keep your energy up and gut happy. Drumroll please........
It's Avocado Toast.
First, I need to call out that I think avocados and fats have been getting a bad rap for a long time. Carbohydrates have too, but I'll save that for another day. Yes it's true that we do have to consume fats in moderation and need to find a healthy balance of all nutrients, but it's time we address the elephant in the room. Eat the avocados. And the nuts. And the seeds. Limit or eliminate the cheese. And the animal protein. And the greasy fast food and take out. There, I said it.
But back to avocados. In addition to all of that healthy fat that helps give us energy to keep us going, did you know how much fiber an avocado has?! It's more than oatmeal! There is 10 grams of fiber in 1 whole avocado, which means half of an avocado has about 5 grams. One cup of cooked oatmeal has 4 grams of fiber, an apple has about 4.5 grams of fiber, and one serving of broccoli has about 3.8 grams of fiber. Avocados are knocking this out of the park when it comes to fiber!
Before we go further, we should touch briefly on the importance of fiber and why we're even talking about this. Fiber is the fuel our gut needs to function at its very best. When we are fueling our bodies with fiber, we are feeding the microbiome of our gut and creating a balance in which all of the microbes there are living and working in harmony...together. What does this mean for us big picture? Well, aside from improving or relieving constipation, diarrhea, bloating, gas, abdominal pain and cramping, we are actually improving our immune system and decreasing inflammation in our bodies, just to nam a few. There's a lot more to it, but that's the short version of why fiber (and eating enough of it) is SO important.
I could geek out all day about the science behind all of this and all that I'm learning, but I know you've been waiting for the most important part...my new favorite recipe for Avocado Toast. No more waiting. Here it is.
Avocado Toast with Kale, Mushrooms and Tomatoes
half of an avocado
avocado or olive oil
garlic (1 clove minced, or use jarred garlic to make life easier)
1 cup mushrooms of choice, sliced (I like baby bella)
1 cup chopped kale (I buy bagged pre-chopped to make life easy)
1 small slice of a lemon
a few cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced
ground sea or pink Himalayan salt
1 slice of whole grain bread or sourdough, toasted (I like sprouted grain bread. Sub a gluten free option if you have celiac disease or a gluten allergy)
balsamic vinegar for extra kick
Drizzle a small amount of avocado or olive oil in a small pan (about 1 tsp works well) and heat on medium heat.
Add sliced sliced mushrooms and saute for about 1-2 minutes, or until softened.
Add garlic. If using jarred minced garlic, I use about 1 spoonful. You can add more or less to your liking.
Add kale and saute for another 1-2 minutes or until just softened and turning bright green in color. Remove vegetables from heat.
Remove avocado from the peel and spread on your toasted bread.
Sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper. Squeeze your lemon slice right over the top.
Top the avocado toast with the sauteed vegetables. Don't worry if you have too much. They are excellent to eat on the side too!
Add sliced tomatoes on top. Drizzle with a bit of balsamic vinegar.
That's it! So easy and so delicious. I hope you enjoy this one! If you have a special version of avocado toast that you'd like to share, please feel free to comment below or send it to me! I'd love to give it a try!